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State of emergency in California as massive storm unleashes flooding

Atmospheric river threatens storm-weary West
Atmospheric river threatens storm-weary West 02:47

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency and drivers are being asked to stay off the roads as a major series of storms carried by an atmospheric river is dropping massive amounts of rain across a wide swath of California from Los Angeles to the Oregon border. 

Some areas could get more than 10 inches of rain in the next day or so. Meteorologists are warning it could be deadly. 

In Sacramento County, there's a race to repair breached levees. 

"If that water comes up real high again, with those kind of flows, we're going to start having trouble," said Leland Schneider, who is with the Cosumnes River Levee District.

Tracking the atmospheric river as it hits California 00:52

Roads are flooding throughout Northern California, prompting fears of landslides and power outages

State officials issued a dire warning on Wednesday. 

"This may be one of the most challenging and impactful series of storms to touch down in California in the last five years," said Nancy Ward, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. 

The jet stream stretches across the Pacific, all the way to Indonesia. The amount of water funneling straight into California is up to 15 times the flow at the mouth of the Mississippi River. 

The ground is already so saturated that any rain can cause immediate flooding. 

In San Francisco, already battered by record rainfall, the demand for sandbags is so high that the city has exhausted its supply. 

But the good news is that the storm is bringing more snow to California's Sierra Nevada than in the past decade. The snowpack is vital to the state's water supply, affected by years of drought. 

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